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      Transforming Growth Factor β Promotes Neuronal Cell Fate of Mouse Cortical and Hippocampal Progenitors In Vitro and In Vivo: Identification of Nedd9 as an Essential Signaling Component


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          Transforming Growth Factor β (Tgfβ) and associated signaling effectors are expressed in the forebrain, but little is known about the role of this multifunctional cytokine during forebrain development. Using hippocampal and cortical primary cell cultures of developing mouse brains, this study identified Tgfβ-regulated genes not only associated with cell cycle exit of progenitors but also with adoption of neuronal cell fate. Accordingly, we observed not only an antimitotic effect of Tgfβ on progenitors but also an increased expression of neuronal markers in Tgfβ treated cultures. This effect was dependent upon Smad4. Furthermore, in vivo loss-of-function analyses using Tgfβ2 / /Tgfβ3 / double mutant mice showed the opposite effect of increased cell proliferation and fewer neurons in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus. Gata2, Runx1, and Nedd9 were candidate genes regulated by Tgfβ and known to be involved in developmental processes of neuronal progenitors. Using siRNA-mediated knockdown, we identified Nedd9 as an essential signaling component for the Tgfβ-dependent increase in neuronal cell fate. Expression of this scaffolding protein, which is mainly described as a signaling molecule of the β1-integrin pathway, was not only induced after Tgfβ treatment but was also associated with morphological changes of the Nestin-positive progenitor pool observed upon exposure to Tgfβ.

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          An assay for transforming growth factor-beta using cells transfected with a plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 promoter-luciferase construct.

          Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) is a potent regulator of cellular differentiation, proliferation, migration, and protein expression. These properties have been exploited to create a variety of bioassays for detecting the mature growth factor. In this paper, we describe a highly sensitive and specific, nonradioactive quantitative bioassay for TGF-beta based on its ability to induce plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) expression. Mink lung epithelial cells (MLEC) were stably transfected with an expression construct containing a truncated PAI-1 promoter fused to the firefly luciferase reporter gene. Addition of TGF-beta (0.2 to > 30 pM) to the transfectants resulted in a dose-dependent increase in luciferase activity in the cell lysates. Although responsive to TGF-beta, this promoter fragment was only minimally influenced by other known inducers of PAI-1 expression. When compared to the widely used MLEC assay, this assay demonstrated greater sensitivity and specificity, allowing quantification of TGF-beta in complex biological solutions.
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            Identification of novel TGF-beta /Smad gene targets in dermal fibroblasts using a combined cDNA microarray/promoter transactivation approach.

            Despite major advances in the understanding of the intimate mechanisms of transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) signaling through the Smad pathway, little progress has been made in the identification of direct target genes. In this report, using cDNA microarrays, we have focussed our attention on the characterization of extracellular matrix-related genes rapidly induced by TGF-beta in human dermal fibroblasts and attempted to identify the ones whose up-regulation by TGF-beta is Smad-mediated. For a gene to qualify as a direct Smad target, we postulated that it had to meet the following criteria: (1) rapid (30 min) and significant (at least 2-fold) elevation of steady-state mRNA levels upon TGF-beta stimulation, (2) activation of the promoter by both exogenous TGF-beta and co-transfected Smad3 expression vector, (3) up-regulation of promoter activity by TGF-beta blocked by both dominant-negative Smad3 and inhibitory Smad7 expression vectors, and (4) promoter transactivation by TGF-beta not possible in Smad3(-/-) mouse embryo fibroblasts. Using this stringent approach, we have identified COL1A2, COL3A1, COL6A1, COL6A3, and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteases-1 as definite TGF-beta/Smad3 targets. Extrapolation of this approach to other extracellular matrix-related gene promoters also identified COL1A1 and COL5A2, but not COL6A2, as novel Smad targets. Together, these results represent a significant step toward the identification of novel, early-induced Smad-dependent TGF-beta target genes in fibroblasts.
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              Genetic programs of epithelial cell plasticity directed by transforming growth factor-beta.

              Epithelial-mesenchymal transitions (EMTs) are an essential manifestation of epithelial cell plasticity during morphogenesis, wound healing, and tumor progression. Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) modulates epithelial plasticity in these physiological contexts by inducing EMT. Here we report a transcriptome screen of genetic programs of TGF-beta-induced EMT in human keratinocytes and propose functional roles for extracellular response kinase (ERK) mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling in cell motility and disruption of adherens junctions. We used DNA arrays of 16,580 human cDNAs to identify 728 known genes regulated by TGF-beta within 4 hours after treatment. TGF-beta-stimulated ERK signaling mediated regulation of 80 target genes not previously associated with this pathway. This subset is enriched for genes with defined roles in cell-matrix interactions, cell motility, and endocytosis. ERK-independent genetic programs underlying the onset of EMT involve key pathways and regulators of epithelial dedifferentiation, undifferentiated transitional and mesenchymal progenitor phenotypes, and mediators of cytoskeletal reorganization. The gene expression profiling approach delineates complex context-dependent signaling pathways and transcriptional events that determine epithelial cell plasticity controlled by TGF-beta. Investigation of the identified pathways and genes will advance the understanding of molecular mechanisms that underlie tumor invasiveness and metastasis.

                Author and article information

                Cereb Cortex
                Cerebral Cortex (New York, NY)
                Oxford University Press
                March 2010
                8 July 2009
                8 July 2009
                : 20
                : 3
                : 661-671
                [1 ]Department of Neuroanatomy, Centre of Anatomy, Georg-August-University, 37075 Goettingen, Germany
                [2 ]Department of Molecular Embryology, Institute of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Freiburg, 79104 Freiburg, Germany
                Author notes
                Address correspondence to email: tvogel1@ 123456gwdg.de .

                Tanja Vogel and Sandra Ahrens contributed equally.

                © 2009 The Authors

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/uk/) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.



                hef1, progenitor, differentiation, cerebral cortex, nestin


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